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Official highway review report yet to be released—JCC
President of the Joint Consultative Council (JCC) Afra Raymond says the official report by the Highway Review Committee (HRC) has not yet been released. This special committee was recommended by the JCC and chaired by Independent senator Dr James Armstrong who reviewed the controversial Debe to Mon Desir segment of the $4 billion San Fernando to Port Fortin Highway.
The report was expected to be published on the JCC’s Web site last Friday, but this has not been done. One newspaper has even published a report on its Web site which it claims is the official document. However, in a telephone interview yesterday, Raymond said: “We are still in the middle of making the final preparations of the report. It is not completed as yet.”
Asked how the report made its way to a newspaper Web site, he said: “I am not sure what that newspaper has, but I did not give it to them. The official report is not released as yet.” Raymond said only the JCC members, Federation of Independent Trade Unions and NGOs (Fitun), T&T Transparency Institute and Working Women for Social Progress would be privy to the official report in the first instance.
He explained that it was a very long document about 257 pages that consist of a lot of details that cannot be rushed. Raymond said they are hoping to have the document completed by next week when he would make an official statement. He said he is not prepared to make any comments on the report until the document is officially published.
There were disagreements regarding the contents of an unsigned report when first revealed by Works and Infrastructure Minister Emmanuel George last week. Last Thursday, George said he had seen the unsigned report and it spelt good news for the Government and supporters of the new highway project.
He said the report recommended that the highway should be built and the decision by the Government was the right one. But George was criticised by Dr Wayne Kublalsingh and PNM’s chairman Franklin Khan who said the minister was speaking in haste and out of time. Meanwhile, Kublalsingh, head of the Highway Re-route Movement denied Georg’'s statements, saying he was just reading one line of the report and neglecting to focus on the detailed findings of the entire document.
When contacted, Armstrong said he was not authorised to speak until the JCC made an official statement. Calls to Kublalsingh’s phone went unanswered yesterday.
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